Providing water to Forest City goes against state’s decision

ISKANDAR PUTERI: A Barisan Nasional lawmaker raised the issue of SAJ Ranhill Sdn Bhd offering to supply water to the developers of Forest City project during the Johor state assembly sitting.

Datuk Tengku Putra Haron Aminurrashid Jumat (BN-Kempas) said this goes against the state government’s decision for the project to find its own water resources.

“The state government had informed the developers that they have to seek their own water resources through desalination process or through other mechanisms deemed fit by the developers.

“This would enable the state government to prioritise the use of water resources for domestic needs.

“The people must come first,” he said when debating the state budget 2018 at the state assembly.

Tengku Putra Haron said the state would be exposed to the possibility of a water crisis as Forest City requires about 600 million cubic litres of water daily.

He said the amount was equal to the water demand for all areas in Johor Baru and Pasir Gudang.

Tengku Putra Haron added that his constituency and several districts in the state were subjected to water rationing exercise last year because of a water crisis in Johor.

He had called upon the state government to take over water operator SAJ Ranhill through compulsory acquisition amid fears that the integrated water supply company might fall into foreign hands.

Tengku Putra Haron said with a cash reserve of almost RM4bil, the state government could afford to acquire SAJ Ranhill through its majority shareholder, public-listed Ranhill Holdings Bhd.

However remote the possibility may be, Ranhill could be sold by its majority shareholder to investors from a neighbouring country.

In such a situation, the state would lose control over not only the water industry, but also a national treasure which symbolises Johor’s sovereignty, he added.

Tengku Putra Haron said if this happened, Johor could also be subject to the possibility of economic sabotage by a competing foreign country.

He said this would put a halt to the state government’s aspiration of being a new economic powerhouse in the region.

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